Minna Suutari: What makes you smile on your way to work?

9/28/2015

Simon Sinek is known in the business world for his book "Start with why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action". Sinek urges companies to reflect upon the purpose of their existence by shifting their attention from what they do or produce, to why they are doing it. Why do we exist and for whom are we creating value and meaningful experiences?

Sinek is one of the international speakers at the Nordic Business Forum to be held in Helsinki in early October. As a sponsor of the event, Tekes wants to promote discussion on where to find the new ingredients of value creation during our era of economic and social uncertainty. Sinek's ideas challenge the traditional, product-centred philosophy which still prevails in many Finnish companies.

Excellent products alone are no longer sufficient to achieve success, unless customers are able to use them for their own purposes. Producing value for ourselves is not enough – we must also understand how we can profitably create value for others. The pursuit of efficiency and cost savings through methods such as digitalisation is an important way of raising competitiveness. However, these measures alone are insufficient if we want to succeed in the long term too.

Innovators need novel methods if they want to be at the forefront of solving the world's challenging problems. As the human suffering and social and ecological crises around us multiply and come home to Europe, a growing number of people want to understand their impact on the world beyond the economic effect. This is reflected in trends such as a greater willingness to help, stronger community values and joint efforts, as well as in demonstrations calling for solidarity.

Similarly, in line with Sinek's thoughts, a loyal customer relationship or a confidential relationship between an employer and employee is based on the shared, larger purpose behind one's activities. Businesses should be bolder and more agile in seizing the opportunities for value creation presented by such developments.

Tekes is not here to provide easy answers on where businesses can find a greater purpose for their existence. However, we want to challenge everyone to think about the ingredients of success that enable value creation based on such a purpose. We therefore invite you to participate in creating a 'recipe' for this approach through the social media and, in early October, at the Nordic Business Forum and Teknologia 15 events, which are partly open to the public.

What makes me smile in my work? It's being able to do things that I find meaningful and believe have a major effect on the rebirth of Finland's business sector. What inspires you?

Minna Suutari
Programme Manager, Feelings Programme

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